EC Dispute Resolution


Informal Dispute Resolution



When parents or school representatives are apprehensive about the next IEP meeting, or it is a complex meeting with numerous participants, or communication between home and school is becoming tense, an impartial facilitator can be requested to assist the IEP team members in communicating more effectively, keeping the focus on student outcomes, and developing compliant IEPs.

Request a facilitated IEP meeting.


Formal Means of Dispute Resolution

When informal means for solving disagreements have not been successful, more formal dispute resolution alternatives are available through the provisions of federal and state laws governing special education [the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Article 9 of Chapter 115C of the North Carolina General Statutes].

Additional information and the forms for requesting dispute resolution assistance



You or the school have the right to request the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Exceptional Children Division to provide a neutral mediator if the IEP Team is unable to agree upon the identification, evaluation, educational program, placement or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for your son or daughter.


Formal Written Complaints

You may file a written complaint with the DPI Exceptional Children Division. A State complaint is a signed written statement that alleges a school or local educational agency is not following special education law and regulations found in IDEA , NC Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities or in Article 9 of Section 115C in the NC General Statutes. This complaint is a formal request for the EC Division to investigate the allegation(s) of noncompliance.


Due Process Hearings

A “due process hearing” is designed to resolve legal disputes between parents of children with disabilities and school systems concerning identification, evaluation, placement, a manifestation determination, and/or the denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Parents must complete a petition and submit it to the Superintendent of their school system, to the Office of Administrative Hearings, and to the Due Process Liaison at the Exceptional Children Division at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The petition starts a legal proceeding against the local school system. An independent administrative law judge will conduct a hearing and determine the facts and law supporting your allegations about your dispute. You have the burden of proving that the school system has violated the law, and you must provide evidence and witnesses to support your allegations.

Petition forms for due process hearings and more information about due process